A cancer diagnosis in itself is a life-changing event. The treatments that you go through after such a diagnosis can have a really profound impact on your body. There is fatigue, weakness, pain, scar tissue, and when you have radiotherapy, there is also a lot of changes to your connective tissue that can really impact your function, your joint mobility, and the way you feel about your body. These are issues that physios can help with but unfortunately few patients are told that physio is actually a really important part of the recovery process. Even fewer know that physio can really help with that overwhelming fatigue that cancer patients experience.
Specific exercise programmes can help combat the fatigue which is a common side effect of the treatments and medications. Exercise can also help improve self-esteem and confidence following a life-changing diagnosis. Exercise is also the key to getting back to the activities you did before your diagnosis – like having the energy to go to work or to keep up with your kids.
Following thyroid cancer and other neck surgeries people often require assistance with scar management, joint stiffness. Recovering normal muscle activation and optimal range of movement is also important for recovery in order to minimise neck and shoulder issues and to preserve your ability to turn your head left and right.
Following breast cancer surgery you will need assistance to recover chest and arm flexibility as well as rib cage alignment. This is extremely important to help you prevent back pain and nerve pain. Physio can also help minimise the effect of chording and other side effects of breast cancer treatment.
Physiotherapy also helps you recover normal breathing mechanics which can help reduce anxiety, the feeling of being short of breath, and help prevent a range of issues such as neck and shoulder pain. How well you can breathe and how you use your chest and shoulder muscles after a surgery like a mastectomy can greatly impact your ability to return to full fitness as well as long-term pain management and fatigue. We can’t emphasise enough how important it is to see a physio after any kind of surgery.
Senior Physiotherapists Pip Coomes & Ali Gibson have both had additional training in providing care for people following a cancer diagnosis. Pip is also a certified PINC physio.
Our massage therapists Miki and Satoko are also trained to help people struggling with lymphoedema which is like swelling which can accumulate after cancer treatment, particularly when lymph nodes have been damaged or removed.
If you would like a copy of information on the services we provide for women following a cancer diagnosis please email [email protected] and we will post it out to you.